Scientific Explanation [Book Review]

Review of Metaphysics 24 (4):754-755 (1971)

As the author states, this book could be read as an introductory text on scientific explanation and related topics or as a monograph which introduces some new ideas and takes a stand on these topics. Part I is strictly a textbook treatment of explanations and laws. It is clearly written and is particularly good in the classification of sorts of explanations. Part II is less successful as introductory material, but it contains some novel ideas. The author develops an approach to explanation, prediction, and retrodiction by considering discrete state systems. He shows that for any number of simple systems of this kind, deterministic and probabilistic explanation, prediction, and retrodiction may not work. The discussion is abstract and the results are not related to actual physical systems. But the possibility of such systems is surely important for any complete theory of explanation as the author suggests. Discussions are also included of teleological systems and of confirming evidence. Part III discusses philosophical issues about the nature of laws, causality, indeterminism, and the limits of explanation. Two appendices discuss problems of scientific explanation in history and the social sciences. There is a long and very useful bibliography.--R. H. K.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI revmetaph197124497
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 47,195
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

No Understanding Without Explanation.Michael Strevens - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 44 (3):510-515.
Mechanistic Explanation Without the Ontic Conception.Cory D. Wright - 2012 - European Journal of Philosophy of Science 2 (3):375-394.
The Limits of Explanation.Richard Swinburne - 1990 - Philosophy 27 (Supplement):177 - 193.
Against Mathematical Explanation.Mark Zelcer - 2013 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 44 (1):173-192.
Grounding, Scientific Explanation, and Humean Laws.Marc Lange - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 164 (1):255-261.
The Metaphorical Conception of Scientific Explanation: Rereading Mary Hesse. [REVIEW]Maria Rentetzi - 2005 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 36 (2):377 - 391.
On the D-N Model of Scientific Explanation.I. A. Omer - 1970 - Philosophy of Science 37 (3):417-433.
The Psychology of Scientific Explanation.J. D. Trout - 2007 - Philosophy Compass 2 (3):564–591.
Scientific Explanation-4 Decades of Scientific Explanation-Critical Notice.Jh Fetzer - 1991 - In Richard Boyd, Philip Gasper & J. D. Trout (eds.), The Philosophy of Science. MIT Press. pp. 58--2.


Added to PP index

Total views
21 ( #449,421 of 2,289,508 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
3 ( #405,483 of 2,289,508 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes

Sign in to use this feature